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Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Pick.
No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1, 5-3 ATS) at No. 10 Louisiana State Tigers (7-1, 3-4 ATS), Week 10 College Football, Saturday November 6th, 8:00PM Eastern Death Valley Baton Rouge, L.A.
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Bama -6/LSU +6
Over/Under Total: 44
SEC powerhouses collide this Saturday night with huge indications on the line for the SEC West down in Death Valley when the no. 10 LSU Tigers host the no. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide. The defending National Champions in Alabama just have 1 loss on the season and if they win out they could be right back in the National Championship picture again. LSU similar to the Crimson Tide also has 1 loss on the season in SEC action as well. Since no. 1 Auburn currently reigns atop the SEC West undefeated, the loser of this game would likely be out of the race to make an SEC Championship Appearance. However, if the Crimson Tide manages to pull out the win it will setup an epic showdown at the Iron Bowl just a few weeks away.
However, Tiger Stadium in Death Valley is one of the toughest places for visiting teams in all of college football and a win for the Crimson Tide will not come easy. Not only will this battle be among two of the best teams in the country, but it will also showcase two of the very best defenses in the nation as well. The Crimson Tide rank 11th in total defense holding opponents to 291 yards per game. If that number does not impress you, the Crimson Tide also rank 2nd in the nation holding opponents to a ridiculous 12 points per game. The LSU defense on the other side of the field is not exactly one downplay either. The Tigers defense ranks 7th overall holding opponents to 277 yards per game and they have given up a 10th best 15.63 points per game to show their tenacity as well. It is safe to say this may be two of the best defenses to take the field against each other all season, but the question is which offense will have what it takes to overcome adversity and help their team capture a monumental victory?
The Crimson Tide had the prior week off which definitely gives them some advantage coming into the game fresh this Saturday night. In Alabama’s last outing, they destroyed a struggling Tennessee team 41-10. The Crimson Tide owns possibly the most talented backfield in all of football with former Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram sharing the carries with an equally dangerous Trent Richardson. Richardson leads the team with 606 yards this season averaging a lucrative 7 yards per carry. Of course Ingram has contributed nicely averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 544 yards. Ingram missed the first few games of the season, but he has been stellar for the most part since his return.
Oddly enough Alabama has been a bit more of a passing team this season than many would expect. QB Greg McElroy has completed 70% passing for 1,781 yards with 11 touchdowns and just 3 picks for the season. McElroy’s biggest playmaker has been WR Julio Jones who has a rare combination of strength and speed that will soon see action on Sunday’s. Jones has racked up 669 yards this season with 3 touchdowns. It is safe to say that the Tigers’ strength on defense is up front on the defensive line and they will likely make it a point to stop the Alabama rushing attack. When that happens, expect McElroy to look to make something big happen with Jones downfield.
The Tigers offense also been led by their rushing attack this season as well. Running back Stevan Ridley has paced the offense averaging 90 yards per game and nearly 5 yards per carry so far this season. Ridley has been the work horse due to the passing offense struggling for the majority of the season. QB Jordan Jefferson has been the main guy behind center this season. While Jefferson is able to run the football at times behind center to add to the ground threat, he has struggled tremendously throwing the football with 8 picks to just 2 touchdowns. In fact, in recent weeks the Tigers have brought in backup QB Jarrett Lee in ideal passing situations rather than keeping the inconsistent arm of Jefferson on the field.
Lee gave the offense a spark in the win against Florida completing 9 of 11 passes and he has been fairly solid in the two games since that impressive outing. If Jefferson continues to struggle, do not be surprised if Lee gets some solid looks behind center and maybe more than expected if the Crimson Tide jump out to an early lead. Wide receivers Terrance Toliver and Rueban Randle do not have spectacular numbers this season but that may be more in regards to the lack of success throwing the football. Both wide outs are extremely talented and will strive if Lee can give them the opportunity to catch the ball. In Alabama’s only loss this season, South Carolina put up a ton of yards through the air and I firmly believe that is the key to beating the Crimson Tide again. However, I just do not think LSU has the firepower to accomplish that feat.
Jay’s pick to cover the point spread: Alabama Crimson Tide -6.